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CURITIBA, Brazil -- Nigeria and Iran, each without a World Cup win since 1998, extended their runs with a goalless Group F draw today, the first stalemate of the tournament and a disappointing game at odds with everything that has gone before in Brazil.
African champions Nigeria would have expected to chalk up a win over the Asian qualifiers, with tougher games against Argentina and Bosnia to come, but created little in a game desperately short on goalmouth action.
Iran had not previously kept a clean sheet in their three finals appearances, but their packed defense worked overtime to restrict Nigeria to a few half-chances and long-range shots.
Iran, whose only previous win came against the United States in 1998, went closest to a goal when Nigeria keeper Vincent Enyeama produced a sharp save to beat out Reza Ghoochannejhad's header from a corner midway through the first half.